Bad day at the office 13

On a training run for Sunday’s 5K, Cleopatra LeGrande, boss of UK Cash Cowboys, tells Ainsley Fibber about winning in a man’s world

On a training run for Sunday’s Bitchfield 5K, Cleopatra LeGrande, boss of UK Cash Cowboys, tells Ainsley Fibber about winning in a man’s world

Life’s a marathon: The Bitchfield 5k 2015: UK Cash Cowboys’ Cleopatra LeGrande on how she persuaded BNP thug Barry ‘the persuader’ Coalman to race with her

The Bitchfield Evening Standard’s Ainsley Fibber caught up (literally, the lanky six footer was running in her training gear) with UK Cash Cowboys’ fascist CEO Cleopatra LeGrande during a last-minute training run at 6.20am this  morning, on the cobblestones of the city of Edinburgh, where she lives in one of her £10 million mansions. LeGrande is in training for the 2015 Bitchfield 5k which takes place tomorrow. It’s the biggie, with 35,000 athletes, celebrities and fun runners from all over the world descending on the tiny Lincolnshire village, along with the world’s media.  Headlining this year’s event are former Marathon star and Olympic athlete Paula Dumpit and F1 racing driver Lotus Zip.

I asked LeGrande why UK Cash Cowboys, who have a 5 year sponsorship deal with the Bitchfield 5k, were supporting the event. “Why do you think, sweetheart? Because we want to sell loads of shit to our customers, so I can become stinking rich. I mean, who in their right mind is going to buy one of our pensions or insurance policies, they’re absolute rubbish. So what you do is support some good cause like the Bitchfield 5k that’s going to get you a lot of good PR in the press, and bingo, before you know it you’ve got ISAs flying off the shelves like shit off a Teflon-coated shovel.”

LeGrande was keen to talk about her running partners for the Bitchfield 5k, the BNP spokesman for bullying issues, Barry ‘the persuader’ Coalman, and her training partner, reformed bank robber and violent criminal Frank Nutter, who she’d managed to get sprung from prison to run in the event.

“I bunged the warder a pony and told him either Frankie walked or he would find out for himself how difficult it was to walk on broken legs. The warder, that is. And Frankie’s like, ‘tops Cleo, I fort I was down for a twenty stretch there. Let me know if you need anyone sorting out at UK Cash Cowboys, and they won’t cause you any bovver any more, you with me?’ Cheers Frankie, I told him, I’ll bear that in mind. So it turned out to be a right win-win. Of course, as soon as Bazza heard Frankie was on the outside, he signed up for the Bitchfield 5k too. He wants to talk about a little rumble Frank’s got going on in Hatton Garden, but I can’t say too much about it, yeah? Suffice to say, the 5k is a great cover. We can go over the planning and shit while we’re jogging round Bitchfield, smiling at the cameras, and the world will think we’re supporting lepers in Africa or something, while really we’ll be planning a nice little earner. Bosh.”

When I asked LeGrande how she’d fallen in with two notorious criminals, and didn’t she think they were rather unconventional bedfellows for the CEO of a high street bank to be associating with, she was unequivocal in her reply. “Shows how much you know about running a bank, sweetheart. I learned everything I know about business from those guys. I’ve heard people say the way to build a successful business is to be nice to people. Complete bollocks. Five minutes watching those guys go to work in a bar-room brawl soon puts you right on that score. You be nice to people, they take the piss. You get your retaliation in first, you with me? Do some right damage, then nobody ever fucks with you again, ever. Job done. I’m talking next level thinking here. I learned from Frank and Barry that the best way to run a successful mob is to terrorise the shit out of everyone. Staff, suppliers, their families. Make sure everyone knows who the fuck you are, and they don’t forget it in a hurry. At UK Cash Cowboys staff are either with the programme, or not, if I can put it like that. If they’re not on my bus, they go under it. That’s how I run my companies, with steel. With blackjacks and baseball bats. Workers’ rights? Fuck off. Fear, intimidation, bullying, exploitation and slave wages, that’s what I learned in business school. But the good thing about events like the Bitchfield 5k is it makes me look like some pussy patron saint of good causes who people think must be the most philanthropical CEO to work for, ha ha. Fuck it, I say, if they’re dumb enough to swallow that shit I’m happy to smile for the cameras then take my staff round the back of the office and give them a right good kicking in the alleyway, where no-one can see. Why you looking at me like that? Wanna do something about it? Well do you? Do you actually know who Barry Coalman’s associates are? Then take that stupid look off your face, unless you’d like to become more intimately acquainted with Barry’s friends.“

As we trudged along Princes Street, I asked LeGrande if her fascist style of running a business has brought UK Cash Cowboys success, and what we might expect from the challenger bank in 2015. “Nosey bastard aren’t you,” she said. “Let me tell you, bullying and intimidation works, period. Profits have never been higher. If you pay someone 90p to make a widget you sell for a quid, that’s only 10p profit. Meh. But if you chain them to the desk, slap them around a bit and tell them to make them for 1p, or their kids die, that’s 99p profit. Keynesian economics, sweetheart. It’s not my fault I was born more intelligent and important than everyone else. It’s all about the pecking order, and people understanding their position in life. Not everyone can be at the top. If people think I don’t deserve five million in bonuses, come and have a go, I say, if you think you’re hard enough. Next fucking question, and it better be a nice one.”

I asked her what her favourite colour was.

“Red,” she said, without a hint of irony. “The colour of blood. It reminds me of a slacker we had to take care of in Marketing last year. Well, I say slacker, he forgot to curtsey when he passed me in the corridor one time, the cheeky cunt. And he had the audacity to ask for a 1% pay rise when he’d already had one five years ago. Listen dickhead, I told him, how the fuck do you expect me to trouser my £5 million bonus next year if greedy cunts like you keep asking for 1% pay rises? Don’t you know there’ a recession on? You should be grateful you’ve even got a job licking the dogshit off my running shoes in the first place. Then I got Barry and Frank to take him round the back and give him his personal end-of-year appraisal, and some one to one feedback on his performance. Basically that’s the technical term for beating his face to a bloody pulp with knuckledusters and tyre irons. Looked like he’d been in a car crash when they’ve finished. Real craftsmen are Barry and Frank, you don’t see their like anymore. Not in high street banking, anyway. Won’t get any more shit about pay rises from that little jumped up piece of shit, you with me? Yeah, my favourite colour is red. Like our logo. Hold up, shhh, look smart, photographers up ahead. Hi there! Lovely day isn’t it! Let’s hope we get sunshine for the big race tomorrow, so we can raise lots of money for all the children and the poor people, and make the world a better place! Love to everyone! Cheese!”




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Football fans are being ripped off by the clubs, Sky and BT

Football fans are being ripped off

I really hate the way Sky, BT, the Premier League, the clubs and the football authorities in this country are totally ripping football fans off. Season tickets can now cost a month’s salary for some low-paid workers. Single game tickets can go for anything from forty to a hundred quid. To sit on your arse on a plastic seat in a cold stadium for 90 minutes, often watching a lacklustre bore draw. A hundred quid a pop. My first motor didn’t cost that much. Now it’s four quid for a pint, three quid for a pie, two quid for a coke, coffee or cup of tea (aka, £2 for a teabag that tastes like floor-sweepings in a styrofoam cup of tepid water). Then there’s the travel to away games. If you’re paying for yourself and the missus or the nipper, you can easily be out of pocket two hundred and fifty quid, for a single game. No wonder working class culture has been ripped out of the heart of British football. Even without the recession it’s just getting too bloody expensive for poor people to follow their teams. The game has been sold out to the middle classes. It’s not the same in Germany, Spain, France or South America of course, where greed hasn’t yet been allowed to hijack football to the same extent.

There was an interesting article in today’s Independent on this very subject, which included this priceless quote:

“German fans can watch Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich all season for only £104 – less than the price of some tickets for a single Arsenal game.”  Says it all really.

Even for footy fans who can no longer afford to go to games, watching from home is becoming equally expensive. Take Sky. I have satellite TV with Sky. I pay Sky £25 a month for their ‘Sports Package’.  Now you would think, wouldn’t you, that paying Sky £25 a month for their ‘Sports’ package would mean I wouldn’t have to pay again if I wanted to watch a sporting event on Sky. And by the way, you can’t have the Sports Package on its own, you have to have it with one of their main packages, like the ‘Variety’ one I’m on, which costs another £30. Add Sky+ on top so I can record programmes while I’m out, add HD so I don’t have to watch programmes that look like they’ve been filmed through the bottom of a steamed up glass, and add multi-room so my lad can watch his own favourites in his room, and Sky are basically into you for £70-£80. A month. Okay, so I get to watch Game of Thrones and Nigella Lawson dangling spaghetti over her pearly gnashers, on demand, but it’s still a lot of money.

Now, I’m first and foremost an English footy fan, as in, a fan of English football. What I mostly want to watch is Premier League games. ESPECIALLY those involving top teams. I’m talking your Man U’s, your Arsenals, your Chelseas, your Liverpools and your Man Citys. Maybe Spurs on a good day. What I’m LESS interested in, are the middle and bottom of table scraps, unless there’s a top team or one of my own teams are involved (Wolves & Norwich, don’t ask). Similarly I have next to NO interest in watching lower league games unless my own teams are involved. That means the Championship, League One, League Two, just doesn’t cut it. Sorry Huddersfield, Doncaster and Accrington, I know your fans are going to hate me but I didn’t agree to shell out getting on for a ton a month to Sky to watch lower-league football in half-empty stadiums. Even if they do try and sell it to me with a wanky title like FL72 Live. WTF, grow up Sky and stop trying to treat me like an idiot.

Here’s how it goes on most Saturdays when I’m not actually at a game. Or Sundays, or on week-nights when there are Premier League fixtures on. Say Arsenal are playing Man U, or it’s Liverpool v Chelsea, or Man City against Spurs. So I’m rubbing my hands thinking, I’ll have a bit of that. So I get the kettle on, or knock the cap off a bottle, settle down on the sofa and what happens? I fire up the telly, remote over to Sky Sports and wouldn’t you know it, the only Premier League game on offer is West Brom against Fulham, or Stoke v Sunderland. No offence meant guys, I know you feel the same about my lot. That’s the point, apart from our own teams, we only want to watch the top teams with the best players. We can go down the local park and watch rubbish.

If Sky are really taking the piss they won’t even have a Premier League fixture on offer at all. It’ll be something scarily exciting like Birmingham v Leeds in the Championship, or god forbid Hearts v Aberdeen from the SPL. I mean, WTF x 2? WTF squared? I’d rather be in the garden, or doing some knitting. But wait, scroll down a little bit to the BT Sports channels and eureka, up pops the Arsenal v Man U game. Which, if I want to watch that I have to cough up AGAIN! That’s right, ANOTHER TWELVE QUID to Sky for the privilege. Or I have to switch my perfectly functioning Plusnet broadband to BT, which I have no intention of doing because BT broadband is as reliable as a Lib Dem promise on tuition fees and the customer service is a joke. I mean, am I being a bit thick here? Am I being completely unreasonable? Because I was under the impression that if I paid £25 a month for a ‘Sports’ package, I should’t have to pay again to watch sport.

Today was a classic case in point, the day of the traditional Community Shield fixture between last year’s Premier League and FA Cup winners, i.e. Man City v Arsenal. Traditionally the big curtain-raiser to the new season. ALWAYS, but ALWAYS, the Community Shield fixture used to be available for footy fans all over the country to watch live, as in, free, on terrestrial TV. I mean, there’s a bit of a clue in the title, ‘Community’ Shield, or as it used to be known, the ‘Charity’ Shield. A traditional annual match that the whole country looked forward to watching on telly. So I checked on BBC, nowt. ITV, the same. Sky Sports, not a sign. Scroll down to BT Sport and there it is, live at 3pm. If you want to watch it, get your hand in your pocket, again. It’s enough to make you bloody weep.

Sky treat their football punters like right mugs. To add insult, they’re trying to palm off their brand new channel on us, Sky Sports 5, as some kind of favour they’ve giving us out of the kindness of their hearts, “included as part of the standard price of Sky Sports, at no extra cost,” said the smarmy email they sent me a few days ago. It went on to say, “Sky Sports 5 will be your new home of European Football… you will be able to watch 128 exclusive live matches from the UEFA Champions League and over 100 more from Spain’s La Liga and Copa del Rey. There will also be live coverage of the European Qualifiers and the Dutch Eredivisie”.

Oh really, well woo fucking hoo with knobs on. Now, if anyone at Sky is reading this, in case I didn’t make myself clear, or you are in any doubt, I don’t really give a flying monkey’s foreskin about whether Malaga earn a hard-fought draw at Getafe on a Sunday night, or ADO Den Haag slip up in a tricky home fixture against PEC Zwolle. You might as well televise live Morris Dancing for all I care. I’m not stupid, and I’m not falling for your Sports 5 bullshit. If you thought it was any good you wouldn’t be giving it away, anyone who knows you greedy bastards will have come to that conclusion already. If you thought real British footy fans would be queuing up to watch it you’d be charging us a premium. But you know, and we know, we’ll never watch it. So why don’t you take it and shove it where the Spanish sun don’t shine, and give us back our top Premier League football games, before we throw in the towel completely and send you back our Sky boxes and start reading books and listening to music again. Now there’s a thought.

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